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Cougar Football’s first scrimmage finishes on a high note

The deep bench guys took advantage of their opportunity

PULLMAN, WA - MARCH 26: Washington State Cougars football program takes to Rogers Field for spring practice Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Hello again! Your Washington State Cougars football team took part in its first spring scrimmage of 2022 on Saturday, and many guys throughout the roster did their level best to make the most of the opportunity they got. Among them were guys who you probably have never heard of, and if everything in 2022 goes to plan, will only get on the field in the waning minutes of blowouts.

The Spokesman Review’s Colton Clark took notice of them, and led his scrimmage recap on that topic.

About two hours and 100 snaps into its first spring scrimmage, Washington State sent out a lineup of deep reserves for a final possession.

Chris Irvin, a redshirt freshman quarterback from Coeur d’Alene, capped the drive in style, lofting a high-arching, 25-yard pass to the far corner of the end zone and connecting with Bode Brewer, a fresh-faced walk-on receiver from Burlington, Washington, who made perhaps the play of the day. He extended his arms in stride, hauling in a finger-tip touchdown grab while crashing to the turf.

Video below!

I don’t want to make any sweeping generalizations about the onset of the Jake Dickert era, or try and infer much from the first live event in what will be the 2022 season, but it seems telling that the players who only got a few plays at the very end of a long scrimmage were hanging it out as if they were playing in the Rose Bowl. What happened next was also pretty cool.

Both sidelines emptied and all of the Cougars converged, swarming Brewer in a congratulatory mosh.

Hopefully there is a lot of teammate-mobbing during the regular season!

So, was there anything else Cougar fans were looking to see from the scrimmage? Oh yeah, that new quarterback. According to the official stats, Cameron Ward had a pretty darn good day, completing 67% of his 21 passes for 155 yards (7.4 ypa), with two touchdowns and one interception.

As one might expect, Ward took a bit to settle into a groove.

At first, the Cougars’ defense had the upper hand. Ward clearly felt the pressure put on by WSU’s disguised blitzes and stunts up front.

“They had people coming from everywhere,” Ward said.

He seemed to have happy feet early and several throws were rushed and off the mark. Ward started the scrimmage 6 of 11 and was intercepted by Nevada transfer strong safety Jordan Lee on an intermediate pass that sailed above its intended target.

Ward doesn’t have a lot going in his favor at this point. Even though he’s familiar with Eric Morris’ system, his teammates are in the very early stages of trying to learn it. Additionally, we’re all painfully aware of the deficiencies along the offensive line, as well as the experienced guys on the other side who try to take the quarterback’s head off (at least proverbially) on every play.

At receiver, I’m probably not the founding member of the “Lincoln Victor will be a problem for opponents” club, but I’m definitely an early advocate! If the Nard dog makes it back to full health by the fall, the Cougar slot guys are going to be fun to watch.

All in all, it was a highly-successful scrimmage, due in large part to the fact that there didn’t seem to be any new injuries, aside from a few guys who sat out due to minor issues that should be resolved soon.

You can view all of the scrimmage statistics here.

Football

Before we get to the spring scrimmage recaps and interviews, Steve Lassan of Athlon Sports graded all of the coaching hires for the upcoming season. Jake Dickert’s grade seems appropriate, but may be a bit on the low side given how he kept the team together in 2021 despite some really rough circumstances.

Grading College Football's Head Coach Hires for 2022 - AthlonSports.com | Expert Predictions, Picks, and Previews
After allowing 38.5 points a game in ’20, the Cougars surrendered only 24.2 in ’21. Maintaining the momentum from the interim role into the full-time position is a big challenge for Dickert.

'It really reveals your character': Washington State conducts well-matched, high-energy session in first spring scrimmage | The Spokesman-Review
The first-year coach was pleased with the back-and-forth between the offense and defense throughout.

Cougars Hold First Scrimmage of Spring Season - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State Football held it's first scrimmage of the spring with both sides of the ball having success on the afternoon at Gesa Field.

Cougars in the NBA

Klay Thompson: still really good! Klay and his Golden State Warriors faced a rather large second-half deficit on Saturday, but then our guy decided he’d had enough, and led the Warriors on an 18-0 run to take down the Utah Jazz. Let’s re-live it in tweets!

First up, Thompson tried some Kevin McHale stuff down low, then was like, “nah, I’m more comfortable 25 feet away.”

Can you imagine how many practice reps it takes to make this shot look easy? I’d have to take roughly 25,000 of these to even hit the rim consistently.

No Steph? No problem.

Thompson did indeed take over, finishing with 36 points and leading the underdog Warriors to a win, which clinched a playoff spot. More impressive was the fact that they won without Steph Curry. Hopefully Golden State and Klay continue their winning ways deep into the spring.

Baseball

I hate to break it to y’all, but Cougar Baseball is not good. Matter of fact, the 2022 Cougars are really, really bad. Unfortunately, Manz(y)ardo and the other departed players aren’t walking through that door.

Cougars Drop Saturday Contest to Utah - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State dropped a 10-3 decision to Utah at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon.

Here’s a Toast

No “This Week in Parenting” today (sorry, mom). Instead, I’d like to pay tribute to a great American, Major (Retired) Don Richardson. Don was a mentor, a friend, and one hell of an AC-130 navigator.

Don had a few offbeat characteristics, especially when compared to his fellow Gunship hooligans. He never drank, he always always always spoke his mind (for better or worse), and legend has it that he never swore. This was put to the test one night in Afghanistan, back in 2006. Don and I were paired on a crew (the Nav and Fire Control Officer sit next to each other). We were part of a mission that was to fly into a different country and take out a high-level al Qaeda member, and Don was fired up. But as we started the engines, the aircraft developed a severe hydraulic leak, not a surprise when you’re dealing with something built in 1969. So there we sat, as the mission commander thought about how to proceed.

Things weren’t looking good for a launch, and Don was becoming more frustrated. After several minutes, Don threw his hands up, and I thought I was about to witness the first curse word to ever leave his lips. Then his fists flew down toward the desk, and out flew about the bluest phrase Major Donald Richardson ever uttered. “GOSH DARN IT!” he said as his fists hit the table. With that, my chance to witness history came and went. We ended up launching, but unfortunately didn’t get to prosecute out target.

Don passed away due to kidney failure this weekend, and is at least the fourth departed former Spectre crew member with whom I had the pleasure of visiting violence upon the enemy. He leaves behind a wife, Jami - Mead HS graduate whom he met while stationed at Fairchild AFB - and four children. Rest in peace, Major Richardson. I will always be honored by the fact that I was never placed on your “Knucklehead” list. At least, I don’t think I was.

Non-Sports

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